Arts & Culture

From Trash to Fabulous, Exhibit All About Sustainability


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 13, 2011) — This year's first exhibition at the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art will demonstrate the beauty that can be found on its way to Lexington's dumpsters. Under the direction of the Lexington Fashion Collaborative, local artists and fashion designers will create masterpieces out of "trash" from local businesses as part of "The Neighborhood Series 2011." This exhibit will open Thursday, Sept. 15, as part of University of Kentucky's Campus Gallery Hop with an opening reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibit and opening reception are free and open to the public.

"Our project will be an exhibition for local artists and fashion designers who choose to inspire sustainability by working with alternative materials or 'trash' to create furniture, instruments, wearable art, and other mixed media art pieces," says Sarah Jane Estes, co-founder of the Lexington Fashion Collaborative and UK junior pursuing merchandising, apparel and textiles and a minor in art studio at UK. "The artists and designers will also be communicating the importance of buying local by working with local businesses."

"The Neighborhood Series 2011" is a community-wide effort that brings together Lexington Fashion Collaborative, a group of talented artists and designers, with a number of locally owned businesses. Funded in part by a $1,800 grant from the UK Student Sustainability Council, this show highlights the importance of shopping locally and creating a sustainable production approach. All of the materials used by the artists have been discarded by local businesses. Instead of their usual trip to the trash heap, they become a part of fashion and art installation pieces in the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art gallery space through Sept. 30.

In addition to the show's sustainability message, members of the Lexington Fashion Collaborative hope to support the "buy local" movement. To further the message of "buy local" each piece exhibited will have a visual merchandising element that will represent the business whose trash was used for the work. Businesses featured in the exhibition include Coffee Times Coffee House, Street Scene, The Morris Book Shop, Kentucky Mudworks, Smiley Pete Publishing, House and New Horizons. Trash from the university's own Reynolds Building #1, home to UK Department of Art's art studios, will also be the foundation of a piece in the exhibit.

"The Neighborhood Series 2011" will also be part of this year's Boomslang festivities presented by WRFL. As part of Boomslang, the fashion and art event showcasing art installations and live adorned models in intricate costumes will also feature performances by local acts Best Friends Band, Coralee and the Townies, and Englishman.  These festivities, which are free and open to the public, will take place 6-9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.

Between the exhibition and participation in Campus Gallery Hop and Boomslang, Lexington Fashion Collaborative hopes to spark new ideas in the Bluegrass.

"With our innovations, we hope art and fashion audience members will leave with their own inventive ideas of how to create new work from recycled materials," says Estes.

Part of the UK Department of Art in the UK College of Fine Arts, the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art is on the first floor of the UK Fine Arts Building, located on Rose Street. The gallery, named for late UK faculty member and artist John Regis Tuska, is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art of regional and national importance. Gallery hours for the fall 2011 semester are 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

For more information on "The Neighborhood Series," contact Dmitry Strakovsky, director of the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art, at (859) 257-1545 or Information can also be found online on the gallery's Facebook page at or at their website at

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or